End of the beginning for the Windows Installer XML toolset.

For the last few months, the five core developers on the Windows Installer XML toolset have met at my house on Tuesday nights to kill off a bunch of bugs or new features.  We usually start around 6:30 PM and work until 2:00 AM or so.  We often play a bit of Halo (sometimes Peter joins in) before calling it a night.

Previously, we’ve always had a back log of serious to semi-serious issues that needed to be addressed each night.  More often than not, Derek would show up with at least one major bug affecting his quality of life.  Usually, I’d be the one stuck with trying to figure out how to solve his issues.

Anyway, the point is that tonight was a really easy night.  There were no real burning issues.  Now I know that the decompiler is still busted in many different ways and that WiX still does not support configurable Merge Modules (I still strongly dislike configurable Merge Modules), but the compiler and linker appear to be very stable right now.  This may be premature, but I truly believe tonight we saw the end of the beginning for the WiX toolset.

So, what does this mean going forward?  Well, there are still some features that I’d like to get into the compiler and linker (for example, continuing the compile even though an error occurred) but my primary focus is slowly going to be shifting from fixing bugs to writing documentation.  With improved documentation and a decent amount of “bake time”, I think we’ll finally be able to mark the Windows Installer XML toolset stable.

Anyway, I should get the latest fixes packaged up and posted by Thursday.  After that, I’ll be looking for feedback on the WiX-users@lists.sourceforge.net mailing list for areas of documentation that need improvement most.  I’ll also be keeping a sharp eye on the bug list, to see just how stable the WiX code base really is.

[Update: I updated the title of this blog entry to better reflect the topic discussed above.  I'm attempting to improve my blog communication skills.]

Comments (9)

  1. Jiho Han says:

    Hooray for the documentation!

    And I guess you’re not married yet. Enjoy it while it lasts…

  2. Peter Torr says:

    Hehe Jiho — give it time 😉

    <Rob is gonna hate me now…>

  3. Subbu Balakrishnan says:

    I have had no problems compiling the WiX builds to date. However, the latest build (v2.0.1629.0) was an exception. The usual "make ship" call results in a number "CS2046: The type or namespace name ‘…’ could not be found" errors. Anyone run into similar problems? TIA.

  4. Brian says:

    Yes, we have run into the same problem. It looks as through files are missing.

  5. No files are missing. The wix.csproj was not correctly updated in the sources-2.0.1629.0.zip to include the Binder.cs (I think I got some of my release steps out of order). You can either add the file to the project using Visual Studio yourself or download the updated sources package, 2.0.1629.1 from SourceForge.net.

    Sorry for the trouble.

  6. subbu balakrishnan says:

    rob, thanks for the update. compiles ok.

  7. PX says:

    Thanks for all your efforts and this great toolset.

    And I am jealous that it was not me who developed THE future MSI toolkit.

    The last three years colleagues and me have programmed something similar, but the toolset is properitary to our employer…

  8. yuhaian says:

    > So go now to the wixbinca directory and

    > copy the "sca*.dll" to the same directory as

    > your "product.wxs" and “readme.txt” files.

    > You should have "scasched.dll"

    > and "scaexec.dll".

    Unzip binaries-2.0.1727.0.zip and sources-2.0.1727.0.zip, there is no directory called "ca". Something wrong with my download?

    I searched my PFSDK, no file with this name.

  9. yuhaian,

    No, nothing wrong with your download. There is a bug tracking these missing files. They will be available by the end of the month.

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